I just ended my 21st year of teaching special education. One of my skill sets is the ability to build rapport with my students. Over the years I have realized that rapport cannot be forced or bought. Some students will be receptive towards creating a bond with their teacher while others are more reserved. I have many students who I have had rapport with while others I have taught and then they moved on without us truly developing any sort of rapport. Instead of seeing me as an ally who has their back, they saw me as a hindrance.
I’m going to begin a series where I’m going to talk about how to build rapport with students. I don’t know how many parts will be to this series because I keep coming up with more ways.
Honestly I think this is one of the best ways to build rapport with students. Sometimes you need to put the computers, manipulatives, assignments, and even phones down and just show the students that you really care. If you are worrying about the next thing, the students won’t have your full attention. In this fast paced world of ours, we often don’t get the human connections that we crave. Being present and in moment with the students allows them to know you really care about them, their dreams, their worries, and/or their preferences. You learn who they are as a person and how they learn.
During virtual teaching, it was so hard to be present with students. Many times they were just black boxes with names on the screen. You could call their name a billion times with no response. Some of my best moments with students were the times we finished the work for the day and just talked to each other. I learned about their dog and their favorite dog who had died. During the year, I watched them blossom over the year. The young man went from wanting to get off the computer to play Fortnite to wanting to draw.
Join me next time for another strategy to help you develop rapport with students.